With Costa Rica’s medical manufacturing market booming, manufacturer Okay Industries needed a competitive edge, something it achieved by becoming the first company in Latin America to invest in Tornos’ Swiss Nano capabilities.
“Our operation in Costa Rica has been growing steadily since we started in 2012. Costa Rica has a growing medical sector with many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) here, so our Alajuela site positions us to collaborate closely with them and serve their needs,” the division’s general manager, Mario Chaves says. “Additionally, Costa Rica has an excellent pool of talent, from engineers to machinists, because we have a lot of good technical schools.”
A new level of precision
Adding the Swiss Nano was part of an investment strategy to continue going beyond the ordinary to meet its customers’ needs.
“Our Tornos SwissNano is part of our expansion project. We recently won two new, very good projects demanding an increased equipment investment,” Chaves says.
One of those projects is producing a 1.5mm x 1.5mm medical device used in breast cancer surgery. This requires taking precision manufacturing expertise to a new level.
“The SwissNano has already exceeded our expectations by demonstrating very good stability on the required part dimensions,” Chaves says. “In the perfect scenario, we will have some additional capacity with our SwissNano to win additional high-precision projects that we know exist.”
Moreover, the SwissNano, one of the most precise machines in today’s market, helps Okay Industries demonstrate value to potential customers. And that supports the company’s vision.
“Okay Industries will be the most trusted partner of custom-engineered precision components and assemblies by combining our 100-years-plus foundation in tooling expertise, our leadership in innovation, and our employees’ commitment to excellence.”
Already experienced with Tornos’ Swiss GT 26 equipped with a gear hobbing device, Okay Industries turned to Tornos when officials decided to invest in a high-precision, Swiss-type lathe.
“With the Swiss GT 26, we are able to produce a plastic gear for a medical device and we have been able to cut our cycle times on specific parts by more than 50%,” Chaves says. “It was the performance of the Swiss GT 26 that led us to look at the SwissNano.”
Chaves explains how the SwissNano extends Okay Industries’ machining expertise to a nano-precision level with its ability to load and unload < 3mm diameter bar stock. Advanced ergonomics allow machine operators to have the guide bush in front of them, and it shares the TISIS common interface with the Swiss GT 26.
Technology’s cutting edge
Mayprod, located in San Salvador, El Salvador, is Tornos’ exclusive Central American distributor, priding itself on supplying first-class machine tools, accessories, service, and technical support.
Founded in 1987 by Carlos Huezo Sr., Mayprod has 30 employees and serves El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. The founder’s vision of bringing modern, computer-numerical control (CNC) technology to Central America continues, says his son and Mayprod operational manager Carlos A. Huezo.
“Metalworking in Central America today is still dominated by manual machines. Costa Rica, with its growing medical device manufacturing sector, is the exception,” Huezo says. “Our biggest products are conventional lathes, and our customers know that we specialize in machine tools, so they return to us again and again. At the same time, customers are realizing the importance of CNC technology and with Tornos’ advanced Swiss-type lathe technology, we can provide it to them.”
With the global population aging and technology diffusion paving the way to increased miniaturization, medical device manufacturing is flourishing in Costa Rica.
With the SwissNano’s high thermal stability and rigidity, Okay Industries can deliver the uncompromising precision levels its customers demand.
“Having access to such technology – along with Mayprod’s unparalleled machine tool industry expertise and commitment to top-notch service throughout the machine’s life cycle – appeals to customers,” Huezo adds. “We put a lot of emphasis on post-sales service and technical support, and this truly differentiates us from other machine tool distributors in our market.”
“In our first part runs on the SwissNano, the results were very impressive, with virtually no variation between the first part and the 200th part,” Chaves says. He emphasizes that the TISIS programming software, Tornos’ Industry 4.0 portal, makes it easy for machine operators to manage the Swiss GT 26 and the SwissNano.
“One of the chief reasons I joined the Okay Industries family was President Jason Howey’s focus on and interest in people,” Chaves says. “The human side is the most important part of the company. We focus on hiring and developing good citizens.”
A bright future
Chaves sees a bright future for Okay Industries’ Costa Rica operation and for its collaboration with Tornos.
“There are a lot of opportunities for Tornos and our company. Tornos has very good equipment. In fact, when we were at Tornos headquarters in Moutier, Switzerland for the commissioning of our SwissNano, I was very impressed with the Tornos MultiSwiss,” Chaves explains. “I can actually picture this machine on our workshop floor. I don’t have a project yet to justify the purchase of a MultiSwiss, but we are looking for one.”
Meanwhile, Tornos solutions help keep Okay Medical and Precision Components Manufacturing and its 65-strong workforce on track to achieve its vision.
Okay Industries Inc.